Are you constantly using the standard French affirmative and want to know how else to say it?
Just like the word ‘yes’ in English, there’s no need to say oui in every situation when speaking French.
Here I’ll help you explore alternative options for saying “yes” in French.
To widen your vocabulary, and add to what you’ve learned in your French course, read the guide below for many other French affirmations.
How do you say ‘yes’ in French?
The most frequently used word to say “yes” in French is the word oui.
If you type “yes” into your translator, this is the standard translation that you’ll get.
You can use it to answer affirmatively or communicate an answer that’s positive. For instance someone might ask you tu aimes le chocolat ? (do you like chocolate?).
To this you can simply respond oui.
How do we pronounce oui in French?
Your next question might be “how is the word oui pronounced in French”?
Well, it sounds a lot like the word “we” in English, but might be a little bit shorter and sharper in the way it’s pronounced.
So, you might pronounce it “wie” in an ever-so-slightly sharp way.
Different ways to say ‘yes’ in French
Let’s now move on to the ways to say “yes” in French.
As mentioned, there are some different circumstances in which you might use different variations of oui, so each example has its own explanation.
Have you heard of any of these examples?
1. Oui oui
Oui, oui is one way of saying “yes” in French.
It’s a way of insisting that you’re feeling fine or emphasising your affirmative response in formal and informal contexts. For example, if you’re at work and someone asks if you have nearly completed a task, you can respond with oui, oui.
Or if someone asks you te sens-tu bien ?, you can respond with oui, oui.
Ouai is used in informal contexts to answer “yes” in French.
It is used by young people to respond to questions casually.
If your friend asks tu veux aller au centre commercial? (do you want to go to the shops / shopping centre) you can respond ouai.
Use ouaip just as you would with ouai.
Again, it’s a casual “yes” in French used by young people in informal situations.
It sounds a bit like the English “yep”, which might help you remember it.
Carrément is a word used to say “yes” in French.
It translates to English as “clearly” and is similar to the Spanish word claro, used to confirm that you understand something or to say “yes.
It can also mean “totally”.
5. Tout à fait
Use the phrase tout à fait in formal situations to answer affirmatively or confirm something.
Tout à fait means “absolutely” or “indeed” in English.
6. En effet
En effet is similar to the phrase tout à fait.
It can be used to say “yes” in French and means “indeed”.
Use en effet in formal scenarios where you agree with someone or are affirming what they have just said. For example, you might hear it in political discussions where one politician might say la situation est en effet préoccupante (the situation is indeed worrying).
This French word for “yes” is used in formal situations.
If you’re sitting down at a table in a French restaurant and the waiter asks you if you want a coffee, you can respond with the word volontiers.
It means “gladly” and is used to respond to a formal question.
8. Avec plaisir
Similar to the word volontiers, the phrase avec plaisir is another way to say “yes” in French.
Again, it is used in formal circumstances to affirm or confirm something, literally translating to English as “with pleasure”.
9. Oui merci
Use oui merci when responding to a question in a formal scenario.
If you’re in a restaurant and the waiter asks you if you want to have dessert, respond with oui merci and then follow up by asking for the menu or letting them know what dessert you would like.
For example, the waiter may ask vous voulez un dessert, and you can reply oui merci.
10. Oui s’il vous plaît
The phrase oui s’il vous plait can be used similarly to oui merci.
It means “yes please” in English.
If we revisit our example of ordering food in a restaurant, your waiter may ask voudriez-vous du vin avec votre repas (would you like wine with your meal?) and you can respond oui s’il vous plait.
11. Bien sûr
Bien sûr is another different way to say “yes” in French.
It means “of course” or “definitely” in English. For instance, if your school teacher asks you aimez-vous jouer du piano ? (do you like playing the piano?) you can respond with the phrase bien sûr if you do.
Use évidemment in the same way as you would use bien sûr.
Évidemment means “of course”. For example, if someone asks toujours envie d’aller nager ce week-end ? (still want to go swimming this weekend?) you can use évidemment to answer in the affirmative.
Certainement is another synonym of the words bien sûr and évidemment.
It also means “of course” and can be used in similar contexts.
You’ve got the word OK in English as well, so you will already know that it’s used to affirm something or agree to something, and can be used to say “yes” in French.
In other words, you might select this one to say “yes, I agree with you”.
The pronunciation is slightly different when compared with English. Try pronouncing it “uh khey”.
D’accord is a synonym of the word OK.
You can use it to say “yes” in French or express that you agree with something or accept something as the truth. For instance, if your friend asks if you want to go to a concert on the weekend they might say tu veux aller à un concert le week-end ?
You can reply with the phrase d’accord if you want to say yes.
When you’re asked a question that is framed in the negative, you must use si and not oui to say “yes” in French.
For example, your dog-loving friend might ask you tu n’aimes pas les chien ? (you don’t like dogs?).
You can reply by saying si, meaning that you do like dogs.
Even though this might look similar to the Spanish conditional word si or the Spanish word for yes (without the accent mark), don’t get confused and try to use it with negative questions only.
This long word is a synonym you can use when you want to say “yes” in French.
It means “without a doubt”.
If you’re asked to attend a Christmas party and your friend says tu veux venir à la fête de noël ? you can respond with enthusiasm and say indubitablement.
18. Ça marche
In informal situations you can use the French phrase ça marche to express that you agree with a plan or course of action.
It means “that’s okay” or “that’s good with me”.
19. C’est exact
If you want to clarify that someone has understood you correctly, use c’est exact to say “yes, that’s correct” or “yes, that’s right”.
This one should be reserved for formal discussions, so you might want to use it during meetings or a conference at work with colleagues.
20. C’est ça
But for those less formal circumstances, you might want to stick with c’est ça, which means “that’s right” as well.
It can also mean “that’s it”. It’s similar to c’est exact, but is better suited for friends and family.
21. Bien entendu
This phrase means “of course” or “naturally” in English.
Use it when you want to agree with someone.
It’s sort of like saying “sure” or “okay” in English. For instance, your friend might want to go ice skating, and they might say tu veux faire du patin à glace la semaine prochaine ? You can then respond by saying bien entendu, or “sure”.
22. Pas de problème
Use pas de problème if you want to say “sure” or “no problem” and need to agree to something in French.
Pas de problème isn’t too difficult to remember since it has the cognate problème.
Use it to say “yes” in French; pronounce it “padproblem”.
Exactement means “that’s correct” or “exactly.
It’s a synonym of certainement, évidemment and bien sûr and can be used in similar contexts.
24. Ben oui
Ben oui is normally used in situations where your affirmation is kind of obvious or implied.
If someone asks you if you like chocolate, since most people like chocolate you might reply with ben oui, meaning “yes, [isn’t it obvious?]“.
Try to avoid using this one too frequently as responding with this might sound like you’re criticising someone for the question they asked.
Experiment with other ways to say ‘yes’ in French
Answering in the affirmative doesn’t always have to be the same.
You don’t always have to say oui.
Now you’re aware of the many different ways to say it, try being creative and varying your responses when saying “yes” in French.
Not only will you impress your French friends, you’ll also start to blend right in in formal and informal situations once you start using these alternatives correctly.
Make sure to check out our guide on how to say no in French as well.
Are there any other alternative ways to “yes” in French?
Let us know in the comments section.